The following table shows the largest cities in Peru by population (more than 100,000 inhabitants), according to the 2007 national census — the last census held in Peru. Data from 2007 is obviously not ideal, but the census remains the best means of comparing population sizes in Peru’s major cities. You can find future population estimates for Peruvian cities at the Instituto Nacional de Estadística e Informática (INEI) website.
The Largest Cities in Peru by Population
|Lima and Callao*||8,472,935||Lima and Province of Callao|
*census information from the INEI lists Lima and Callao together as the wider Lima Metropolitan Area
As the following map shows, seven of the ten most populous cities in Peru are located in coastal departments to the west of the Andes:
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Popular Cities in Peru by Foreign Visitors
The following table lists the 12 most visited cities in Peru by foreign tourists according to the BADATUR Peru tourism database. Of the 12 cities, six feature in the list of the 10 largest cities in Peru by population (see map above). For foreign visitors, the city itself isn’t always the main draw: individual tourist attractions located within or near the city are often of greater importance…
|RANK||CITY||Primary Reasons for Visiting
|1||Lima||Capital city, transport hub, numerous attractions|
|2||Cusco||Former Inca capital, Machu Picchu, numerous archaeological sites|
|3||Puno||Cultural hub, Lake Titicaca|
|4||Arequipa||Colonial city, nearby Colca Canyon|
|5||Ica||Nazca Lines, sandboarding at Huacachina, Pisco brandy|
|7||Huaraz||Huascarán National Park, Cordillera Blanca, climbing, trekking|
|8||Trujillo||Historic city, Chan Chan, Huacas del Sol y de la Luna|
|9||Puerto Maldonado||Jungle tours and lodges|
|10||Chiclayo||Sipán archaeological site, excellent nearby museums (Tumbas Reales, Brüning)|
|11||Cajamarca||Historic highland town, archaeological sites|
|12||Iquitos||Jungle tours and lodges|
The six most popular cities in Peru are all located in the southern half of the country (Lima and south of Lima). That’s no great surprise: the southern route is known as the Gringo Trail for good reason.
Your Favourite Cities in Peru
Out of interest, what are your favourite cities in Peru and why? Do you like the sights and sounds of popular cities like Cusco and Arequipa, or do you have a quirky affection for one of Peru’s less-visited towns or cities? Let us know in the comments box below. Thanks!
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